Clinton Township's fire marshal says it appears cigarettes are to in The Harbours Apartments on Aug. 31.
Fire Marshal Steve Conroy said investigators were able to pinpoint the source of the fire as "unattended smoking materials left in an ash tray" on the balcony of the third-floor unit second from the end of the building.
"It looked like the entire building was on fire, but it really worked its way up the exterior and got into the attic," Conroy said, adding that most of the interior damage in the complex was due to smoke and water rather than fire.
As the cause was determined to be accidental, Conroy said his department's investigation is complete and he does not expect any additional charges to be filed against the owner of the apartment where the fire started.
Sprinklers and alarm systems active
While there was some confusion among residents as to whether the building's sprinkler and alarm systems activated, Conroy said he can confirm both were in working order at the time of the fire.
"All sprinklers and smoke detectors were functioning properly," he said. "The interior of the apartments are protected with sprinklers, but when the fire went into the attic, it got into unprotected space."
The sprinklers were shut off shortly after the arrival of the Clinton Township Fire Department to minimize water damage to apartments on the lower level of the building. Conroy said the sprinkler heads that were activated in the fire have since been put back in service and the smoke detectors re-checked.
As to the full extent of the damage, Conroy said he considers the six units closest to the end where the fire started to be now uninhabitable.
Save for the firefighters who were treated for dehydration at the scene, there were no injuries as a result of this fire.
, The Harbours Apartments has been collecting clothes, shoes and personal hygiene items in the complex's clubhouse, located at 44565 Bayview Ave, Clinton Township, just off Hall Road and Heydenreich.